Tenants from 85 Bowery Go on Hunger Strike to Protest Delay in Repairs

Posted on: February 9th, 2018 at 5:11 am by

Photo: Karlin Chan

Displaced tenants from 85 Bowery are on hunger strike, foregoing food until the city forces the emergency replacement of the crumbling staircase.

Landlord Joseph Betesh had been forced, via court order, to remedy the problem within two weeks of the eviction on January 19. That deadline passed last Thursday. Yesterday, eight strong gathered on the steps of Housing Preservation and Development and launched the strike. There they will remain for the duration.

Concerned volunteers brought in chairs and cots for the tenants. And apparently, they can warm up inside.

“I spoke with building security and they were very understanding and sympathetic to tenants and will allow them access to use restrooms and warm up during building hours,” a tipster at the scene told us.

Despite the media circus, the infrastructure fix at 85 Bowery is likely at least six weeks out, by some estimates. The replacement stairs are expected to arrive in roughly two weeks; it’ll then be another four weeks (at least) for installation, plus an additional week or two to “demolish interior partitions that are blocking emergency exits.”

Photo: Karlin Chan

Until then, nearly 100 residents must live in exile. None have been permitted to return home to retrieve personal belongings. Most are still wearing the same clothes as the day the city came to evict them. 63 of the tenants are living on the Betesh dime at the Wyndham Garden Hotel next door, allegedly until construction is complete; the remaining are staying with friends or still holed up in the Brooklyn shelter.

“The tenants of 85 Bowery continue to be without a home, and it’s critical that repairs be done quickly and safely so families can return to their homes as soon as possible,” Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou said in a statement. “I understand tenants’ skepticism on repairs given the landlord’s track record of willful neglect, and I will continue to push both the City and landlord for accountability and speedy construction. It is a positive step that the City is exploring taking over repairs should the landlord fail to meet construction milestones. However, the pressure must be kept as we approach three weeks since the vacate order left dozens of families homeless.”

Below is a letter from HPD describing the situation in depth.

HPD Statement regarding 85 Bowery by BoweryBoogie on Scribd

Recent Stories

7-Story Matzo Factory Condos Top Out on Rivington Street

The Streit’s name hasn’t held court on the Lower East Side since demolition of 148-154 Rivington Street commenced in the summer of 2016. Now, in its place, teaser signage for the upper crust newcomer which just topped out last week. The token signal of apex – an American flag – was planted atop the seven-story […]

Homeless Man Found Dead this Weekend in Parked Van on Delancey Street

A homeless man was found dead on Saturday afternoon in a parked van on eastern Delancey Street. Police sources tell us that the owner of the van had allowed the homeless man to sleep in the vehicle, which was parked at the southeast corner of Pitt and Delancey Streets. (Like in the movie With Honors.) […]

100 Norfolk Penthouse Sells for Record Setting $6.73M

The cantilevered box of condos at 100 Norfolk Street debuted late last year, and became an instant eyesore, following in the grand tradition of Blue just across the street. Now, word is circulating that its crown jewel penthouse just closed for an eye-popping $6.73 million. The real estate PR machine is calling this transaction the […]

Little Italy Church Rectory Hits the Market as $14M Development Site

The dying carcass of Little Italy continues to get picked apart. Mere days after a devastating fire knocked out Angelo’s on Mulberry Street comes word that the Most Precious Blood Church is selling its rectory. (The church itself is on Baxter Street.) The fifty-foot-wide property in question, located at 109 Mulberry Street, currently houses the […]

Teen Chef Flynn McGarry Opens his ‘Gem’ on Forsyth Street

He’s nineteen-years-old and has the food industry smitten. Teen chef prodigy Flynn McGarry this week opened a new Lower East Side restaurant on Forsyth Street called Gem. It’s a dining concept with split personality, offering both a coffee shop vibe (like it’s predecessor Cafe Henrie) and place for deep-pocketed tasting menu seekers. The Living Room, […]